Pre-internet ‘modern’ Ireland

Pre-internet modern Ireland

What ‘modern’ Ireland looked like before the Internet Age

For the last few months The Little Museum of Dublin’s Brand New Retro exhibition of adverts, newspaper cuttings and magazine covers record has been capturing imaginations of old and new alike by showing the way we once were.

It was the cult publishing sensation of 2015 and for the past few months The Little Museum of Dublin ‘s exhibition of Brand New Retro has offered a colourful and candid celebration of Ireland’s embrace of modernity in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s.

Pre-internet modern Ireland

Featuring hundreds of images, articles and advertisements on subjects such like fashion, music, nightlife, lifestyle and youth culture, Brand New Retro shines a box of mobile disco lights on how Irish people lived and loved from the optimistic days of the late 1950s to the (slightly more bleak ones of) the 1980s.

Pre-internet modern Ireland

The exhibition is accompanied by a specially-commissioned essay by Pat McCabe, the iconic Irish novelist.

The exhibition has its origins in Brian McMahon’s website based on his own ever-growing collection of vintage Irish magazines featuring household names like Johnny Logan, Gay Byrne and The Miami Showband.

Pre-internet modern Ireland

McMahon’s career started a hundred yards from the Little Museum in 1979, when his band, The Scheme, supported U2 in the late, lamented Dandelion Market off St Stephen’s Green. As curator of his own award-winning website, McMahon brought the gems of his collection to museum exhibit show, including many new discoveries.

Pre-internet modern Ireland

“I’m really excited about sharing the jewels of this archive with the people of Ireland,” he said.

Little Museum curator Simon O’Connor added: “This incredible collection shows us a pre-internet Ireland, another world where men had unfeasibly thick heads of hair and people took pills to put on weight. It captures a nation trying to burst its way into the modern world, a society that is picking up the radio signals of American and British pop culture and transforming itself accordingly.”

Brand New Retro at the Ireland Funds Gallery at the Little Museum of Dublin until 8 January.


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